Grant boost for Solaris will help more locals

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Solaris Cancer Care volunteer Emma Abraham and Great Southern client services manager Saskia Wiseman.
Camera IconSolaris Cancer Care volunteer Emma Abraham and Great Southern client services manager Saskia Wiseman. Credit: Shannon Smith/Albany Advertiser, Shannon Smith

Solaris Cancer Care is now able to help more cancer patients in the Albany region after receiving a timely grant.

The $70,000 grant from Woodside Energy’s COVID-19 Community Fund will help the Albany centre deliver a mental health and community support program.

Solaris Cancer Care chief executive David Edwards said the funds would allow the centre to expand its online and phone support services.

“We have doubled counselling support availability, tripled our wellbeing program content, and introduced targeted educational workshops such as the carers’ course for free online,” he said.

“The grant has enabled us to be in the wonderful position of inviting more patients to join our online support groups and benefit from our vast mental health and community resources.

“Woodside’s generous grant also means that we are now able to preserve all our online support and adapt our approach into a blended online-physical model as restrictions ease.

“This means that cancer patients who can’t drive to our Albany centre can arrange for a free counselling appointment from their home in Narrogin.

“They can also follow our guided meditations at 9am on weekdays from the comfort of their home and choose to come in for a face-to-face meditation or continue online.”

The centre was forced to close its face-to-face services on March 18 because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Being unable to host its regular community fundraising initiatives has led to a projected 30 per cent decline in revenue.

In 2019, Solaris provided 2200 free support treatments in the Great Southern.

Solaris Cancer Care Great Southern client services manager Saskia Wiseman said being isolated during the pandemic had been tough on cancer patients.

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